Saturday, October 11, 2008

What the HELL, Northeastern?!

This is an editorial I submitted to the Huntington News. Never in my collegiate career have I been more embarrassed by my university.

I’ve complained since I first arrived at Northeastern about the school’s undervaluation of athletics. Time and time again, the students and alumni have been told “it’s going to get better,” and yet, after years of speculation, our facilities remain some of the worst in Division I, our coaching staffs lack the resources they need to build nationally competitive teams, and our president avoids sporting events like the plague.

But none of that has bothered me to the point of nausea…until today’s football game vs. UMass.

Northeastern finally made me sick. It wasn’t the lack of commitment to “student experience,” it wasn’t the massive under funding of the athletic department, and it wasn’t watching more UMass students crowd into Parsons than Husky faithful. No, it was our administration greenlighting a halftime show. By the UMass band. Yes, the Minutemen band performed a halftime show, complete with the Amherst fight song, on our fifty yard line.

It’s one thing to leave our pep band without school funding or recognition, but it’s another thing entirely to allow a fully-funded, twenty-tuba band from the opposing team to plant kettle drums all over our field. Where’s the pride, Northeastern? If Dr. Aoun wouldn’t mind thinking back to his days at the University of Southern California, perhaps he could inform us as to whether UCLA’s band was ever allowed to perform at the Coliseum. This was absolute blasphemy, and I am still completely bewildered as to how this was allowed.

Today’s halftime debacle only served to highlight an athletic program which is being subjected to unreasonable demands from the administration while having to simultaneously question its future. Our student-athletes don the red and black every season. They sing “All Hail Northeastern” after winning games against teams with infinitely better funded and administered athletic programs. What I really want to know is whether our administrators are singing along.


Honestly, that was the most unbelievable thing I've ever seen. This school just doesn't get it. The Huskies lost 28-24, but the game was truly lost when the punt team came out on a 4th and inches play with 2:30 left in the half. The punt was bad, the Minutemen scored, and it was all downhill from there.

Northeastern 2, Alaska-Fairbanks 2 (shootout victory 3-2 for Alaska)

NCAA rules don't count shootouts in college hockey, thank goodness, but the Kendall Hockey Classic does, meaning the Huskies will not be bringing home any hardware from Alaska. And, frankly, they don't deserve to.

The Huskies got on the board first with a Dennis McCauley goal (didn't see that coming), then did what they did last year in the second half: relaxed. Fairbanks evened the score, but freshman and 3rd-round NHL draft pick Steve Quailer notched his first collegiate goal to put the Huskies back on top. The third period was an absolute mess for Northeastern, although they were playing a man down due to some sort of gastrointestinal illness. They gave up 16 shots while only putting up 3 of their own, and surrendered a late goal which would force the game into overtime. The overtime period was scoreless, and the Nanooks scored in the shootout for the "victory."

I'm not going to jump on their backs for one bad game, particularly their first, but this team runs the very real risk of being legitimately bad this year if they try to repeat last season. A one goal lead is never enough, and playing not to lose is the easiest way to lose.

The Huskies play Alaska-Anchorage at the ungodly hour of 11PM Eastern. I'm hoping to see 60 minutes of good hockey.

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